It’s a shame that Anthony Pettis lost in such one-sided convincing fashion. Not that Clay Guida did not deserve to win the way he did, but more so because Pettis brought with him a mystic that captured the casual viewer. Consider his highlight reel cage-kick that floored Ben Henderson, or the great MTV profile done on him by Andrew Jenks for his show “World of Jenks,” and Pettis had been riding a wave of hype and buzz befitting the WEC champion. But when the UFC officially annexed the WEC and its talents into their fold many wondered aloud how the WEC talent would stack up against there UFC counterpart.
For better or worse, Saturday night’s Pettis-Guida fight would provide some valuable insight on the whole UFC vs. WEC talent debate. Here we had Pettis, the WEC lightweight champion, taking on Guida who while being a true fan favorite found himself treading water in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division. At least until he put on a wrestling clinic at the expense of Pettis who spent most of the fight fighting for submission attempts while on his back and being blanketed by a tenacious Guida over three rounds.
So the question is posed, all things considered, is the WEC talent a notch below their counterparts in the UFC? Traditional wisdom would say yes, given that the UFC represents the pinnacle of professional MMA in terms of exposure and pay. Obviously, one would believe, a lightweight fighter good enough to fight in the UFC would not hesitate in signing with them. Perception runs rampant in many circles that the WEC contained good fighters, but none the caliber of the UFC roster. Truth be told, it’s unfortunate that this flawed line of thinking is generously applied in fault to all other promotions regardless of common sense.
Here is the definitive answer regarding the UFC vs. WEC debate. No. Sure a good number of deficiencies were exposed in Pettis’ game by Guida. But let us not overlook the fact that Guida has been on a tear in the Octagon as of late and in no way was this fight a “showcase fight” for Pettis. Guida is rapidly making a name for himself in the lightweight title picture, and while Jim Miller may get the first crack at the 155 pound title once Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard settle their score, Guida’s tenacity and hear have earned him a shot at the strap, sooner than later.
As for Pettis, there are still some items he needs to work on, chief among them would be his wrestling. But, it also has to be noted that Pettis is still in his early 20s and time is most certainly on his side. The ceiling is high for the young Milwaukee native and with continued training and experience against the beasts in the UFC one can only expect for Pettis to become better in each showing. That being said, UFC fighters are not superior to WEC fighters. Just on this night Clay Guida was better than Anthony Pettis.